Abandoning a Pregnant Woman or Girl is a Crime.

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Abandoning a Pregnant Woman or Girl is a Crime in Lagos State.

Abandoning a Pregnant Woman or Girl is a Crime. Daily Law Tips (Tip 786) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK).

 Introduction:  

Rejection is one common factors in the lives of many women, during their days of unplanned  pregnancy. There are often high cases of school age girls being expelled and dropped out of school or being rejected by their parents because there are pregnant. Many African parents will reject and even abandon their children, who became pregnant while at school and without a husband.

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Most boys and men, will deny, reject and abandon their pregnant girlfriends and fiancées, where there is an unplanned pregnancy. While, this status quo must change, since there is a law in Lagos State, that makes the abandonment of a pregnant woman a crime. Abandonment here covers failure to pay maternity bills. It is important to add that marriage is immaterial to this discussion, whether the pregnant person is married or not, does not matter. 

Marriage and the Abandonment of Pregnant Women/Girls: 

Pregnancy is a product of sexual intercourse, save for some medical procedures that permit artificial insemination (like, the In Vitro Fertilisation [IVF]). Aside pleasure, one major purpose of sexual intercourse is pregnancy. On a lighter note, the popular Nigerian comedian (Nkem Owoh) once satirically asked his friend in a movie, if the friend was expecting a refrigerator instead of a baby, after the friend was alleged to have had unprotected sex with Nkem Owoh’s daughter. The often purpose of sexual intercourse is pregnancy, aside fun, whether there is marriage or not. Marriage is not an important factor in pregnancy in the eyes of law. Whether there is a marriage or not, once there is a pregnancy, the pregnant person must be cared for and provided for by her “Impregnantor” (the person responsible for impregnating a female). Both the “Impregnantor” and the “Impregnantee” (the person that was impregnated) are to be in the business of pregnancy together. 

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Since Lagos State is always ahead of every other state and the entire nation, the jurisprudence of Lagos State cannot be equated to that of any other state in Nigeria. Links to my earlier works justifying this premise is located at the footnote. In Lagos State, it is an offence for any person that impregnated a woman or girl to fail, refuse or neglect “… to contribute to maternity related costs from ante-natal to post-natal stages…”. So, in Lagos State, abandonment of a pregnant woman or girl, does not only cover physical abandonment but extends to refusal to provided needed maternity care and finance for a pregnant woman/girl and her baby, during pregnancy and after pregnancy (post-natal period). 

Maternity related cost here covers; “… all medical expenses, food expenses, reasonable shelter and other necessaries.”. However, the provision of maternity care is determined according to the “… means and resources available…” to the person that impregnated the woman or girl. This is to strike a balance and ensure that pregnant women and girls do not seek heaven on earth beyond the financial capabilities of their “Impregnators”. 

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Like any offence, there is a punishment for any person that impregnates a woman or girl and fails, refuses or neglects “… to contribute to maternity related costs from ante-natal to post-natal stages…”. The punishment is a fine of N45, 000.00 plus the cost “… that any other person may have reasonably incurred in relation to the upkeep of the (pregnant) woman or girl”. So, the family and well-wishers of a pregnant woman, can safely recover any fees or resources spent on a pregnant person from the “Impregnantor”. 

Conclusion: 

Lagos State is not one of the states where a boy or man can impregnate a woman or girl and abandon the impregnated person without contributing to the maternity related costs from ante-natal to post-natal stages. It is an offence in all parts of Lagos State for any person to impregnate a person and leave the impregnated person without contributing to the maternity related costs from ante-natal to post-natal stages of the impregnated person. 

Whether the “Impregnantee” (the person impregnated) and the “Impregnator” (the person that impregnated”) are married or living together or in any form of relationship is not relevant. The key factor here is that, an “Impregnator” must care and provide the maternity costs of his “Impregnanteee”. Let the person that has planted, be ready to weed and harvest the farm, else he may be arrested and prosecuted. As usual, Lagos is ahead of other states. 

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This provision that criminalized the abandonment of pregnant woman or wife, is contained in the Criminal Law of Lagos State, since 8th day of August 2011. Till dated, many states have not adapted and imitated this provision. Even the national level, the law on domestic violence (the Violence Against Persons [Prohibition] Act, 2015) which obviously was made later in 2015, failed to have such reassuring provision. Also, most of the states that have been pushed to enact their own anti-domestic violence law, merely imitated the Violence Against Persons [Prohibition] Act, 2015 (VAPP ACT) and failed to criminalize the abandonment of pregnant women and girls. Legislators must not lose focus with realities, data and the plight of women and girls unplanned pregnancy. I purposely don’t want to call the pregnancies “Unwanted pregnancies”, rather “Unplanned Pregnancies”. Legislators should include this in their buckets of amendments for the anti-sexual and domestic violence laws.   

My authorities, are:

  1. Section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 2, 3, 279 and 420 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
  3. Onyekachi Umah, “Abandonment Of Wife/Husband, Children Or Dependants Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/abandonment-of-wife-husband-children-or-dependants-is-a-crime-daily-law-tips-tip-470-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  4. Onyekachi Umah, “How Lagos State Is Legislatively Ahead Of Other States” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 30 September 2020 <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/how-lagos-state-is-legislatively-ahead-of-other-states/ > accessed 20 April  2021
  5. Onyekachi Umah, “The First Virtual Court Hearing Was In Borno State And Not In Lagos State.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/the-first-virtual-court-hearing-was-in-borno-state-and-not-in-lagos-state-daily-law-tips-tip-579-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  6. Onyekachi Umah, “Emotional, Verbal And Psychological Abuse Is Now Criminal Offences” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/emotional-verbal-and-psychological-abuse-is-now-criminal-offence/> accessed 28 April 2021
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Forcing Wife to Stop Work is Now A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 April 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/forcing-wife-to-stop-work-is-now-a-crime/https://learnnigerianlaws.com/forcing-wife-to-stop-work-is-now-a-crime/> accessed 26 April 2021
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is Now An Offence To Force Wife/Husband To Stop Working” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 28 May 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/it-is-now-an-offence-to-force-wife-husband-to-stop-working-daily-law-tips-tip-340-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  9. Onyekachi Umah, “Seizing or Destroying the Property of a Spouse is a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 March 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/seizing-or-destroying-the-property-of-a-spouse-is-a-crime/> accessed 20 April 2021
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “Hiding/Concealing Domestic Violence Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/hiding-concealing-domestic-violence-is-a-crime/> accessed 20 April 2021
  11. Onyekachi Umah, “Domestic Violence Is A Crime Not A Family Dispute” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 10 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/domestic-violence-is-a-crime-not-a-family-dispute/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  12. Onyekachi Umah, “Why Lagos State Needs A VAPP/SGBV Law” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 January 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/why-lagos-state-needs-a-vapp-sgbv-law/> accessed 20 April 2021
  13. Onyekachi Umah, “Lagos State Has No VAPP/SGBV Law !” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 8 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/lagos-state-has-no-vapp-sgbv-law/> accessed 20 April 2021
  14. Onyekachi Umah, “An Access To Criminal Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/an-access-to-criminal-laws-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  15. Onyekachi Umah, “8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/8-new-things-about-rape-laws-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  16. Onyekachi Umah, “ChannelsTv Interviews Onyekachi Umah on Rape and the Laws.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/channelstv-interviews-onyekachi-umah-on-rape-and-the-laws/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  17. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Woman Be Charged With Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-woman-be-charged-with-rape-daily-law-tips-tip-595-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-ll-m-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  18. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Husband Rape His Wife” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-husband-rape-his-wife-daily-law-tips-tip-592-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  19. Onyekachi Umah, “When Is Seduction Or Indecent Dressing A Justification For Rape In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-is-seduction-or-indecent-dressing-a-justification-for-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-591-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  20. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment For Rape In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/new-punishment-for-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-594-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  21. Onyekachi Umah, “Rape Cannot Be Settled Out Of Court (No Room For Pay-Off/Forgiveness/Withdrawal Of Complaints” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,26 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/rape-cannot-be-settled-out-of-court-no-room-for-pay-off-forgiveness-withdrawal-of-complaints-daily-law-tips-tip-596-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  22. Onyekachi Umah, “A Female Too, Can BE Guilty Of Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 13 December 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-248-a-female-too-can-be-guilty-of-rape-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  23. Onyekachi Umah, “Ages At Which Sexual Intercourse With Consent Will Amount To Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 February 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/ages-at-which-sexual-intercourse-with-consent-will-amount-to-rape-daily-law-tips-tip-509-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  24. Onyekachi Umah, “How To Prove Rape In Nigeria).” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 July 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/how-to-prove-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-363-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  25. Onyekachi Umah, “Child Marriage/Abuse Is A Crime (Rape): An Exposé On Laws Prohibiting Child Marriage” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 June 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/child-marriage-abuse-is-a-crime-rape-an-expose-on-laws-prohibiting-child-marriage-daily-law-tips-tip-593-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  26. Onyekachi Umah, “Forced Marriage Is An Offence In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/forced-marriage-is-an-offence-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021 
  27. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents’ Property?”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-married-woman-inherit-her-parents-property-daily-law-tips-tip-535-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  28. Onyekachi Umah, “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Elongation, Breasts Ironing And Forced Marriage Are Now Criminal Offences In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [443]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-elongation-breasts-ironing-and-forced-marriage-are-now-criminal-offences-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-443-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  29. Onyekachi Umah, “Harmful Widowhood Practices (Traditions) Are Illegal In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 589]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/harmful-widowhood-practices-traditions-are-illegal-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-589-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  30. Onyekachi Umah, “Forceful Isolation/Separation Of Family Members/Friends Is Now An Offence In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [356]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/forceful-isolation-separation-of-family-members-friends-is-now-an-offence-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-356-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 120 April 2021
  31. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Onitsha People of Anambra State, Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws, 10 March 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/abolished-anti-women-custom-of-onitsha-people-of-anambra-state-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-522-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  32. Onyekachi Umah, “Citizen By Marriage Is Discriminatory and Against Nigerian Women”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 September 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/citizen-by-marriage-is-discriminatory-and-against-nigerian-women/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  33. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Yoruba People of Nigeria”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 March 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/abolished-anti-women-custom-of-yoruba-people-of-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-523-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  34. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents Property?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-married-woman-inherit-her-parents-property-daily-law-tips-tip-535-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  35. Onyekachi Umah, “Approval For Marriage Of Female Officers/Staff Is Unconstitutional and Discriminatory”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 September 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/approval-for-marriage-of-female-officers-staff-is-unconstitutional-and-discriminatory/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  36. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is An Offence To Chase Out Wife/Husband From A Home Or Even Attempt To Do So” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 May 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/it-is-an-offence-to-chase-out-wife-husband-from-a-home-or-even-attempt-to-do-so-daily-law-tips-tip-333-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  37. Onyekachi Umah, “Examining Brutalization of House Helps in Nigeria. (An Exposé on Anti-Cruel Labour Laws in Nigeria)” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 August 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/examining-brutalization-of-house-helps-in-nigeria-an-expose-on-anti-cruel-labour-laws-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-623-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-ll-m-aciarbuk/> accessed 27 April 2021
  38. Pic credit: insider.com

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